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These moves have helped DiFranco gain the respect of SMB channel partners. “He has brought in a bit of freshness to the channel and has definitely earned respect in the reseller community,” said Romi Randhawa, president and CEO of Fremont, Calif.-based HPM Networks. “He talks facts and is always looking for creative ways to grow his business.”
As DiFranco prepares for HP’s Americas Partner Conference this week, cloud and mobility are neon light issues due to their huge long-term strategic implications for PartnerOne. HP has been sculpting its private cloud message and in February launched its Cloud Enablement Program, which gives partners financial incentives to build their own cloud service delivery platforms using HP’s Converged Infrastructure portfolio.
In addition, HP’s acquisition of Palm last April, which took place dramatically against the backdrop of last year’s America's Partner Conference, was a seismic event in the annals of HP history, one that altered the course of an HP mobile strategy that had previously been closely tied to Microsoft. The Palm deal gave HP its own OS, developer ecosystem and hardware capability, as well as a level of control over the entire customer experience that some pundits suggest could put HP into a competitive position with Apple.
HP in late February unveiled its TouchPad tablet PC and a pair of Pre smartphones. HP’s mobility business hasn’t been a major channel opportunity in the past but DiFranco says that’s about to change.
“WebOS is going to exist in millions of products, in TouchPads, smartphones and HP printers. We believe it’s going to be an operational advantage for companies trying to manage large networks of client devices,” DiFranco said. “In the ecosystem for channel partners selling to business and government organizations, it’s an opportunity for us to address this market with an OS that’s designed to work across different types of devices.”
Although Apple’s iPad has a significant head start, one that grew even larger with the launch of the iPad 2, DiFranco says HP will offer a product that addresses key concerns of corporate CIOs. “HP has a very robust commercial portfolio, and channel partners who support that can deliver services,” he said. “That can be a very significant value proposition in large enterprises.” NEXT: Thanks To The Partners